Geoffrey Tokajer of the Department of Defense Discusses Vulnerabilities of Human Behavior in Social Media Warfare Campaigns

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Geoffrey Tokajer Geoffrey Tokajer

Serving in the Department of Defense over a quarter century, Geoffrey Tokajer has developed an expertise in critical subjects such as national security, cybersecurity and human behaviors in social media. Below, he discusses key elements and vulnerabilities in online platforms like social media and programs running our water and electric grids across the country.

Geoffrey Tokajer has served in a number of roles and capacities within combat arms, military law and intelligence operations both in and out of uniform as a United States Marine and other capacities in support of Naval Special Warfare within the United States Special Operations Command. He earned a Master’s in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Legal Policy and holds several credentials supporting operations and intelligence functions within the National Defense Strategy. Geoffrey now contributes his expertise to the National Capital Region where he currently works.

Through his training, his education, and his decades-long career, Geoffrey Tokajer has developed a thorough understanding of how foreign enemies penetrate the defenses of individuals, businesses, corporations and governments through a combination of vulnerabilities in cybersecurity and harmful online behaviors. He’s witnessed how personally identifiable information and financial credentials are discovered and exploited online from unsuspecting people browsing the internet and using normal functions like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

“Digital war is something our country is engaged in every day, and attacks against our online domain have only grown with the spread of the internet across the globe,” says Geoffrey Tokajer. “There needs to be a greater effort from our civilian counterparts to protect identities and information online. We also need better human-cyber intelligence defenses to prevent attacks on our country’s water systems and electric grids, which are particularly vulnerable today.”

Tokajer has been conducting research with both government and non-government organizations to uncover vulnerabilities or “doorways” provided through social media for several years. “The data clearly shows how easy it is for social media accounts to promote political, religious and ideological content to influence followers to assist in reaching a desired outcome. After other research unveiled major vulnerabilities in grids everywhere, new bills were recently proposed by the Senate Energy Committee to build stronger defenses to avoid power failure. The research, conducted by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute, stated that 56% of the facilities surveyed during the year recalled at least one shutdown or operational data loss. A quarter of the facilities faced a “mega attack.” Stricter cyber security standards have been imposed on electric grids as a result and the industry is seeing greater involvement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Large-scale attacks like this are today through the internet, proving that it’s one of the most dangerous battlegrounds ever,” says Geoffrey Tokajer. “Social media provides a doorway and is another major component of the internet under attack by outside enemies all the time.”

He explains that people may be baited into revealing personal or proprietary information on social media which could prove extremely valuable to our adversaries. Geoffrey Tokajer explains that human manipulation also takes place more and more frequently through social media where it swings people’s opinions in a certain direction to gain an advantage from enemies. This was especially apparent during the last primary elections of the United States.

“Foreign enemies are constantly looking for ways to destabilize America. The internet proves to be one of the most vulnerable platforms today,” says Geoffrey Tokajer. “Through it, enemies can access private information and spread confusion or false information. It can even be leveraged to unbalance water and electrical systems and cause power outages. In the future, we will have to be even more vigilant about online attacks and will need to develop greater human intelligence in combination with artificial intelligence and cybersecurity defenses across the board.”